Google and Its View of Copy and Paste: Not Okay, No, No, No!

January 4, 2023

Another day, another hoot. Today (January 4, 2023) I read a “real” news story from the trust outfit Thomson Reuters titled “Google Alleges India Antitrust Body Copied Parts of EU Order on Android Abuse.” Yes, that’s the title. Google. Copying. India. Abuse.

I ran through my mind a few instances of allegations of the Google doing the copying. First, there was the online advertising dust up. My belief is that most people are not aware that Google paid Yahoo to make a dispute about online advertising technology go away. This was in 2004, and the Saul Hansell (who?) story is online at this link. To make a long story short, for me the deal allowed the Google to become an alleged monopoly in online advertising. It also made clear to me that innovation at Google meant copying. Interesting? I think so.

Then there were the hassles with newspapers and publishers about Google News. Wikipedia has a summary of the jousting. You can find the “Controversies with Publishers” thumbnail at this link. I would summarize the history of Google News this way: Others create timely information and Google copies it. Google emphasizes its service to users; publishers talk about copying without payment. The dismal copy paste drama began in 2002 and continues to this day.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Google’s scanning of books. I think of book scanning as similar to my photocopying a journal article when I was in college. I preferred to mark up the copy and create my University of Chicago style manual approved footnotes sitting in a cheap donut shop miles from the university library. After a decade of insisting that copying books was okay, the courts agreed. Google could copy. How are those clicks on Google Books and Google Scholar going in 2023. You can read about this copying decision in “After 10 Years, Google Books Is Legal.”

Copying is good, true, high value, and important to users and obviously to the Google.

Now what did the Reuters’ article tell me today? Let’s take a look:

Google has told a tribunal in India that the country’s antitrust investigators copied parts of a European ruling against the U.S. firm for abusing the market dominance of its Android operating system, arguing the decision be quashed, legal papers show.

Google is objecting to a nation state’s use of legal language copied from a European Union document.

Yep, copied.

Does Google care about copying and the role it has played at Google? In my opinion, no. What Google cares about is the rising tide of litigation and the deafening sound of cash registers ringing as a result of Google’s behavior.

Yep, copying. That’s a hoot. How does Google think laws, regulations, and bills are made? In my experience, it’s control C and control V.

Stephen E Arnold, January 4, 2022


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